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Saraki: Witness makes U-turn, says petition not part of investigations

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A prosecution witness on Tuesday told the Code of Conduct Tribunal that he knew nothing about the petition he had previously said was the basis for investigations into Senate president, Bukola Saraki’s alleged corruption case.

The witness, Micheal Wetkas, had on April 5 told the court that certain petition from the Kwara Freedom Network, as well as other petitions, formed the basis for the commencement of investigations into the case of alleged false asset declaration by the Senate president.

Mr. Wetkas had also told the court that based on the investigations that followed , his team found out that Mr. Saraki was collecting salaries for four years after he resigned as governor.

“After the expiration of Mr. Saraki’s second term as governor of Kwara State in 2011, the EFCC received several petitions from various groups in Kwara State, especially the Kwara Freedom Network, bordering on allegations of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering,” he said on April 5.

He added that the petitions were investigated in 2014 and the then chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, received an intelligence of suspicious transactions linked to the Senate president.

Continuing, he said Mr. Lamorde set up a three-man panel of investigators, comprising himself and two other operatives, Chris Odofin and Nura Bako, to investigate the intelligence report and report back its findings

“In the cause of our investigations, the committee discovered several companies whose activities are linked to the defendant.

“They include Carlasle properties and investment limeted, Skyview properties Linka Nigeria Limited, Tiny Tee Limited and several others.

“Some of the companies maintain account with Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank (Now Access Bank) Plc and others,” he said.

But during cross examination on Tuesday, Mr. Wetkas said the investigation conducted by his team was merely an “offshoot of the analysis of intelligence” received by the EFCC, and that it had nothing to do with the petition.

“To the best of my knowledge, this investigation was the offshoot of the analysis of the intelligence we received.

“The intelligence comes sometimes orally, or in writing. Sometimes our sources want their reports protected; that is why we call it confidential.

“If it is not confidential, we call it petition,” said Mr. Wetkas.

Mr. Wetkas said he did not critically access the details of the Kwara Freedom Network but only perused it.

He insisted that the said petition did not form part of the documents that led to the investigation by his team in 2014.

Asked on various occasions about the outcome of their investigations into the details of the Kwara Freedom Network’s petition, Mr. Wetkas simply said the petition was not part of his team’s investigation.

He also told the court that his investigation team never conducted any investigations into the accounts of revenues ​that ​accrued to Local Governments in Kwara State.

He however maintained that the intelligence report said to have been used by his team to conduct the investigation included details about Mr. Saraki’s accounts as well as other ‘confidential’ documents.

Ahead of the ruling, lawyers argued on the need for an adjournment to let them look into the documents tendered in evidence.

Counsel to the defence prayed the court to allow them the rights enshrined in Section 36 (C) and avail them the time to critically look into the documents.

In his arguments, counsel to the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs, said the tribunal should adhere to the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, and ensure the daily continuation of the matter.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the prayer sought by the prosecution.

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